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Family Skeletons: A Spunky Missouri Genealogist Traces A Family's Roots...And Digs Up A Deadly Secret Mass Market Paperback – Jun 15 1998


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 207 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks (June 15 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312966024
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312966027
  • Product Dimensions: 16.8 x 10.7 x 1.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 113 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,138,814 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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The Lick-a-Pot Candy Shoppe is located on the corner of Jefferson Street and Hermann Avenue, in the town of New Kassel, Missouri. Read the first page
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
When "Torie" is not pointing out the fine craftmanship of an antique writing desk to tourists or sandbagging around her home to keep the mighty Mississippi from sweeping her life away, she freelances in genealogical research. Local antique shop owner Norah Zumwaldt employs Torie to track the whereabouts of the father she never knew, believed KIA during World War II. Torie accepts the challenge; she is intrigued by the mystery of the project, but finds herself embroiled in a bigger mystery when Nora is murdered. Clearly for Torie it's one more death year to add to the tree and her family hopes she will leave it at that. If she did, though, there wouldn't be a story.
The search for Norah's killer encompasses Torie's expertise in research, as it appears some "family skeletons" just won't stay in the closet, not to mention some long-lost relatives and a slew of unsolved murders from the past that may be linked to Norah's. Bolstered by Torie's witty yet sometimes exhausted point-of-view (what mother of two small children with a full-time doesn't get tired sometimes?), Family Skeletons is a light, cozy read one can finish rather quickly.
Be warned, however, of a brief continuity error that may leave you scratching your head more so than the actual mystery: early on in the story Torie is talking to a contact and mentions that the last time she saw him was at his mother's funeral. A few sentences later she is threatening the fellow with telling his mother about a past affair of his unless he delivers some important information. I admit I had to read the passage a few times to get that straight. I'm sure it is just an oversight that didn't get corrected in the final editing (unless I read it wrong). It shouldn't, however, divert you from the main mystery.
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By Pam on May 25 1998
Format: Mass Market Paperback
So many "new" authors, so little time to read. This was an excellent page turner. Genealogy can reveal many interesting secrets. "Torie" O'Shea and her family are a good new entry into the mystery field. Enough suspense to keep you guessing and enough clues to help you figure out the crime. This is the second author I've taken to recently from this group. Laurell K Hamilton also writes an excellent story. Keep up the good work.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 16 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Entertaining, well-plotted, and kind of cozy... Aug. 26 2005
By M. C. Crammer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I've read a couple of other in the series and hadn't realized until I was finished that this was the first. The series centers around Torie O'Shea, a woman who lives in a small town on the Mississippi River south of St. Louis. She's married, has a good family life, works part-time in a historical house giving tours in period costumes, and her hobby of genealogy is sometimes done for pay. This story begins when a woman on a tour comes up to her and asks her to research her family tree -- with particular interest in her father, who disappeared in World War II without a trace. For some reason, Torie takes the work, although she hasn't done genealogy for pay for a while. Very quickly, there's a murder that is quite possibly related to her genealogical search. Someone seems anxious to get Torie to just drop it. Which of the people she's been meeting is the killer, and presumably also the person who has been trying to get her to drop it.

This whole series is entertaining -- well written, well plotted, and, well, cozy. But this particularly volume isn't quite the caliber that I'd give five stars to -- but quite possibly, 4 1/2 stars.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Entertaining debut features a crime-solving genealogist Aug. 31 2004
By L. Kelly - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Victory "Torie" O'Shea seems to lead an idyllic life in the historic town of New Kassel, Missouri. In this first book from St. Louis author Rett MacPherson, we meet Torie and her family. Torie is married to Rudy and has two little girls. Torie also works as a tour guide of the historic buildings in her home town of New Kassel, even dressing in vintage clothing while giving her tours. Torie is also an avid genealogist. As the story opens, she is hired to prepare a family tree for town resident Norah Zumwalt. Norah has an interesting family mystery, which is that her father went off to World War II and was never heard from again--no official death record from the war or anything. After finding some interesting information which she wants to share with her client, Torie is horrified when she goes to Norah's house, finds the front door ajar, and discovers that Norah has been savagely murdered.

Being naturally inquisitive (or is it nosy?) Torie wonders if there is some secret in Norah's family tree that led to her murder. Throughout the story, Torie works with the county sheriff to find out the identity of the murderer. The plot is a good one, with lots of turns.

I enjoyed the genealogy aspect of the story too. I'm looking forward to reading Torie's next adventure in family history.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Who would have thought geneology could lead to murder? March 6 1997
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
New Kasel, Missouri shop keeper, Norah Zumwalt hires local historian and genealogist, Victory "Torie" O'Shea to amass a family tree and to learn what happened to her father who disappeared during World War II. Almost immediately, Torie uses military records to track down Norah's missing father, who apparently lives in a nearby town. When she goes to Norah's home to tell the woman all that she has already learned, Torie finds the murdered corpse of her client.
.....Though extremely busy, Torie decides to complete her client's request by developing the Zumwalt family tree. She is also curious and wants to learn why Norah was killed and why her father never returned to his hometown and family. As she learns more about the secret life of her deceased patron and the woman's family, Torie has placed herself and her beloved family in jeopardy from an unknown assailant who wants FAMILY SKELETONS left in the closet. If Torie is not careful, the murder count may soon rise with Torie and her family becoming the latest homicide statistic.
...... FAMILY SKELETONS is an interesting who-done-it loaded with many viable suspects. However, what makes this debut novel a treat is Torie and her delightful family, who come across as multi-dimensional characters living complex lives and entering into eventful relationships. Mystery fans need to keep an eye on newcomer Rett MacPherson, who appears to have a bright future ahead of her within the genre.

......Harriet Klausner
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Charming cozy, interesting debut for MacPherson March 26 2001
By "kathrynlively" - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
When "Torie" is not pointing out the fine craftmanship of an antique writing desk to tourists or sandbagging around her home to keep the mighty Mississippi from sweeping her life away, she freelances in genealogical research. Local antique shop owner Norah Zumwaldt employs Torie to track the whereabouts of the father she never knew, believed KIA during World War II. Torie accepts the challenge; she is intrigued by the mystery of the project, but finds herself embroiled in a bigger mystery when Nora is murdered. Clearly for Torie it's one more death year to add to the tree and her family hopes she will leave it at that. If she did, though, there wouldn't be a story.
The search for Norah's killer encompasses Torie's expertise in research, as it appears some "family skeletons" just won't stay in the closet, not to mention some long-lost relatives and a slew of unsolved murders from the past that may be linked to Norah's. Bolstered by Torie's witty yet sometimes exhausted point-of-view (what mother of two small children with a full-time doesn't get tired sometimes?), Family Skeletons is a light, cozy read one can finish rather quickly.
Be warned, however, of a brief continuity error that may leave you scratching your head more so than the actual mystery: early on in the story Torie is talking to a contact and mentions that the last time she saw him was at his mother's funeral. A few sentences later she is threatening the fellow with telling his mother about a past affair of his unless he delivers some important information. I admit I had to read the passage a few times to get that straight. I'm sure it is just an oversight that didn't get corrected in the final editing (unless I read it wrong). It shouldn't, however, divert you from the main mystery.
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Great May 25 1998
By Pam - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
So many "new" authors, so little time to read. This was an excellent page turner. Genealogy can reveal many interesting secrets. "Torie" O'Shea and her family are a good new entry into the mystery field. Enough suspense to keep you guessing and enough clues to help you figure out the crime. This is the second author I've taken to recently from this group. Laurell K Hamilton also writes an excellent story. Keep up the good work.

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